The last two episodes of Brooklyn Nine-Nine have catered to the strengths of its game ensemble, to an extent that the major crimes that should throttle the episodes forward have been pushed into the background. In this week’s episode, a skirmish at a chocolate milk restaurant – a concept this writer truly hopes is not a creation of writer Gabe Liedman, but a high-concept dining idea that exists – gets just over a minute of screen time. It unfortunately receives the short straw in exchange for a packaged deal nicknamed “chocolate milk,” according to Peralta: a buddy team-up with him and Terry.
As much admiration as Andre Braugher gets and deserves for his placid deadpan stare and tone, the series’ secret comic weapon has often been the bulky Terry Crews. Using his linebacker persona to the advantage of great sight gags this week, the writers have created a sweet, genial character without making the more emasculated qualities of this characterization seem too forced for comic relief.
This week, Terry Jeffords contemplates getting a vasectomy, which stuns his co-workers at the precinct. “You are blessed with a great power and you should never snip its wings,” Gina advises. However, the operation gives Terry second thoughts. Anaesthetized, Terry tells Peralta that he does not think the vasectomy is a good idea. When he cannot remember his exchange the next day, Peralta tries to get Terry to realize this before he goes forward with the procedure. At the expense of the central crime, whose bizarre setting should have been, ahem, milked for more comic gold, the episode focuses on Terry and Peralta’s wavering friendship. Peralta wants to be “every kind of friend” to Terry, while his muscular superior is not sure how much he wants to pursue friendship outside of the workplace.
In the episode’s B-plot, an old feud from Cpt. Holt’s life comes back to haunt him. The deputy chief doing precinct evaluations is Madeline Wuntch, played by a feisty Kyra Sedgwick. Holt hopes that he can cajole her into giving their precinct an above-average grade – one that would give goody two-shoes Santiago a relief. Bringing aboard two actors known for more dramatic portrayals of law enforcement – she won an Emmy and several other awards for playing a deputy chief on The Closer – into a more comic setting creates room for their chemistry to ignite. Their foiled friendship lives up to its potential, especially when we learn that it was a “Derek Jeter incident” that embarrassed her and caused them to part ways. (Just trying to imagine what that means is part of the fun.)